Skip to content

Montebello Block Takes Shape

The downtown core of Salmon Arm is rising at R.J. Haney Heritage Village.
New build: R.J. Haney VIllage manager Susan Mackie is dwarfed by the new Montebello Place.

The downtown core of Salmon Arm is rising at R.J. Haney Heritage Village.

Make that the downtown of about 100 years ago.

In the five months since ground was broken, the large building that will represent several pioneer vintage shops has become an imposing presence on the village’s main street.

Located across from the blacksmith shop, Montebello Place will be home to nine storefronts, including Miss Puff’s Millinery Dress Shop, S.M. McGuire General Merchant, the Telephone Exchange, an ice cream shop with pharmacy and the Bank of Hamilton.

Located around the corner are Lingford’s Photo Studio, A.E. Palmer’s, the butcher shop and predecessor to Askew’s Foods, a barber shop complete   with pool table and the Salmon Arm Observer with a printing shop.

At the back on the main level will be 6,000 square feet of archive space to house the museum collection and a much larger, more efficient place for curator Deborah Chapman to work.

“It will represent the downtown core of old Salmon Arm,” says village manager Susan Mackie, who notes the village has had pioneer homes, a gas station, blacksmith, but no real shops.

Plans are to take Montebello Place to lock-up stage by the end of June, meaning doors and windows will be in place, but no exhibits.

But a wraparound porch or boardwalk will be in place, giving this year’s visitors an idea of what will come with the grand opening next June.

“We’ll quiet construction down over the summer because there are so many events and weddings,” says Mackie, noting the grand opening will be held on June 9, 2017 to coincide with Canada’s 150th birthday.

Thanks to generous donations from businesses, service clubs and individuals, more than $1.1 million of the $1.4 cost of the Montebello project has been raised.

And everyone is invited to get in on the action.

One way of adding to the coffers and storing memories is through a time capsule fundraiser.

For $150, participants will receive a package that includes questions, a space for writing stories and an invitation to return the package along with a photo to R.J. Haney Heritage Village over the next year.

“It’s kind of a cool package; there are questions specific to the family –  is there something significant in your family?” says Mackie, pointing out the packages will be buried during the grand opening and will remain untouched for 25 years. “It will be interesting to see what people have said when the capsule opened.”

The project is not just intended for families who have been in Salmon Arm since early days but for everyone who wants to save or leave a legacy of memories.

Another Montebello Place fundraiser will be a fun day of golfing on July 28 at Son Seekers Golf Club on Black Road.

“It will be nine holes of fun for everyone,” says Mackie, noting the cost is $100 per person or $75 per person if part of a foursome and part of each admission will be eligible for a tax receipt.

“Golfing will be followed by a nice dinner back in the village prepared by this year’s red-seal chef Zac Harder.”

Harder serves up regular menu items as well as a daily $7.99 special in Marjorie’s Tea Room, which is open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“There’s a sandwich menu with soup, salad, cakes, treats including the famous rhubarb crisp,” says Mackie. “Everything is homemade, including the bread, and we use anything we have in our village garden.”

This year’s popular Villains and Vittles dinner theatre production opens July with a brand new play by Peter Blacklock.

Set in the Sprig of Heather Tea Room, the play involves sibling rivalry.

“Well, it might have been over a boy, and there is a long-lost wedding dress that was never worn,” Mackie says. “And there might even be a trip to Africa.”

Villains and Vittles plays to Aug. 24 on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Check-in is at 5 p.m. A home cooked dinner with all the pioneer fixings is at 6 and the show starts at 7 in the SASCU Theatre – the lovely amphitheatre in the forest.

For more information, call 250-832-5243.